A Cappella Farewell
When he went away
it was gentle,
a touch on the upper arm
by an old friend; like a musician
saying, this is enough for now,
replacing his instrument in its case,
and bidding good night.
Slowly the gathering rooms
of my compatriots have emptied,
and I wonder if it is I
who shall be left alone
like someone adrift on an empty sea
amidst the lingering resonance, listening
to the wind-dance outside,
reiterating the feeling of that final violinist
in Haydn’s symphony;
holding the stage after everyone else has gone.
Who then will be left to remember
those not so long-ago games of tennis?
Right here, on those courts outside.
Even now faltering, vision and hearing uncertain,
Who will remain here, just as singular?
And wonder if I, unperceived,
am still standing in the window’s bay,
watching the whip and whirl of last winter’s first snowfall,
while I listened,
and he explained,
some esoteric idea about the stock market;
and then he stopped, momentarily silent
as the space between that music’s movements,
as if he were mulling over what he had just said,
but would eventually restart,
like that triumphant violin soloist,
to take his bows from the podium.